“Science is hard,” or even the dreaded “I hate science” can come from students. What do you do when students aren’t engaging in class? We’ve outlined nine ways to engage students in your STEM classroom. We hope some of these can work in your science class!
Science is involved in every aspect of our life, from the food we consume to the clothes we wear and the vehicles we move around in. Showing students that the science you’re teaching connects to the real world can make the topic something students want to pay attention to.
Here are some fun science facts:
Students are used to hearing you talk about science, so what if you brought in a guest speaker who could spark enthusiasm? You could reach out to your network, local organizations or companies, or there’s a great service called Skype a Scientist that you could also access. They “give students the opportunity to get to know a real scientist and get the answers to their questions straight from the source.“
Interactive visuals can bring otherwise complex concepts to life. A study by Learning From Science News found that people had an easier time digesting and engaging with information when visualizing it. “The possibility to access information through clicking, sliding, or zooming-in might provide a more direct and personally meaningful experience of abstract phenomena and thus facilitate comprehension and learning.”
One way to use these visuals is through bite-size 3D animation videos. Labster offers many of these on YouTube, including this free ELISA assay animation.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “STEM occupations on average will grow faster than non-STEM occupations and provide higher wages.” It’s more important than ever to make students aware of what STEM careers they could possibly choose and get them both informed and interested!
If they’re interested in forensic science, you could use our simulation, Polymerase Chain Reaction, to have them jump into a crime scene to try and solve the mystery.
Role-playing is a way to help students understand and practice being in the world around them. According to a study, role-playing significantly affects students’ concept mastery and leads students to be skillfully creative. You can even role-play different careers!
There are constraints in the labs: budget, the time it takes, and access to certain equipment. What if your students could access a million-dollar laboratory from your science classroom or their homes? With Labster, this is possible. We have a catalog of over 300 science simulations that can be used as both supplements and replacements for labs that are difficult to access.
Our Next generation sequencing simulation is one that students generally cannot access in the classroom. In this virtual lab, students will will obtain a hair sample from an ancient man from Greenland, extract his DNA, and perform DNA sequencing.
Take a virtual field trip to learn about topics that students might only be able to read in a textbook! They can give students a sneak peek into concepts outside the classroom. Some labs are inaccessible due to the cost of the lab, so virtual field trips give students access.
It’s not every day that students get to use zebras in their learning.
With our simulation, Trophic Levels: Grazer vs. predator, students will be able to explain the different chains within a food web and relate them to a trophic pyramid by safely guiding a zebra across a crocodile-filled river.
Polling serves many purposes: it engages students where they may otherwise be silent in class, allows for healthy competition, and encourages them to share where they’re stuck and could use additional help. It’s a good way for instructors to get instant feedback from students so they can adjust their lectures or activities accordingly. Students can use their phones or laptops to send in their answers! Many free options include Poll Everywhere, Slido, and Google Forms.
Ready to rethink your STEM program?
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